A career-best for Damian Lillard. A career-best for D’Angelo Russell.
And neither was enough, on a wacky Friday in the NBA.
Lillard scored a franchise-record 60 for Portland in its loss to Brooklyn, Russell had 52 in Golden State’s loss at Minnesota — and those efforts added up to an absolute NBA rarity. Friday became only the second night in league history in which multiple players scored at least 50 points in losses.
The only other such day: April 9, 1978. David Thompson scored 73 points in Denver’s loss to Detroit, and George Gervin scored 63 in San Antonio’s loss to the New Orleans Jazz. That was the final day of the 1977-78 regular season, one where Thompson and Gervin were going for the league’s scoring title.
No scoring title was at stake Friday. It was merely a wild night.
“Obviously, Dame was exceptional tonight,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “Carried us, put us in a position to win the game.”
Lillard capped his 60-point effort, one more than his previous career best, with a 34-footer at the buzzer to cap a 119-115 loss. He was 19 for 33 from the field, 15 for 15 from the foul line, but merely slapped a few teammates’ hands and walked off the floor quietly after the record night.
Russell was 19 for 37 from the field, but the Warriors fell to the Timberwolves 125-119.
“D’Angelo hit some incredible shots. … Played a fantastic game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Russell said he never scored 50 in a game before Friday. His previous NBA high was 44.
“It’s not easy to get 50 in this league,” Russell said.
Another big effort that didn’t end in a win Friday — Luka Doncic, who had 38 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for Dallas in a loss to New York. Doncic’s 38 points were a career-best and he has four triple-doubles in eight games this season.
“I don’t care about the season-high,” Doncic said. “I just wanted to win.”
Gervin won the scoring title after that final-day flurry in 1978, finishing that season averaging 27.22 points. Thompson’s 73 pushed him to 27.15; another six points in the finale would have been enough to give him the scoring crown. Lillard’s 60-point game allowed him to jump one spot to No. 2 in the points-per-game standings, now behind only Houston’s James Harden.
“Dame’s a special player,” Stotts said.
Having a night in which multiple players score 50 in a loss is really rare, obviously — and having a night where it happens in wins isn’t exactly common, either.
Friday was the first day that the NBA had multiple 50-point scorers, regardless of outcome, since Dec. 23, 2005. That night, Vince Carter scored 51 for New Jersey in a win at Miami, and Allen Iverson scored 53 for Philadelphia in a loss to Atlanta.
Other days with multiple 50-point efforts: Feb. 21, 2003 (Jamal Mashburn and Tracy McGrady), Dec. 6, 2000 (Kobe Bryant and Antawn Jamison, both putting up 51 in the same Lakers-Warriors game), Jan. 16, 1993 (Michael Jordan and David Robinson), Dec. 1, 1990 (Patrick Ewing and Charles Smith), March 24, 1990 (Ewing and Tom Chambers), Feb. 13, 1963 (Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain), Dec. 14, 1962 (Baylor and Chamberlain), Feb. 25, 1962 (Chamberlain and Richie Guerin), Jan. 24, 1962 (Chamberlain and Jerry West), Jan. 17, 1962 (Chamberlain and West), Dec. 29, 1961 (Baylor and Chamberlain), Dec. 13, 1961 (Baylor and Chamberlain), and Dec. 8, 1961 (Baylor and Chamberlain).
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